Video footage revealed that a Manatee County, Florida, corrections officer used excessive force on an inmate during a "shakedown search" for contraband.
Deputy Paul Wagner alleged that the inmate had smuggled oranges, but that explanation failed to justify his decision to body-slam the inmate to the jail floor. WTSP reports that the officer was fired by the Manatee County Sheriffs Department on July 7, but he plans to appeal the decision.
According to WTSP, The incident occurred on June 26. The video footage shows Wagner and two other officers walking an inmate down a hallway, pushing him into the wall as they go. Investigators report that the inmate became upset during the shakedown and acted out. However, it's difficult to see how a frustrated man in handcuffs at the mercy of three corrections officers could be so much of a threat that Wagner needed to body-slam him into the floor, breaking his nose and some teeth.
Prisons and jails are fraught, perhaps inherently, with tension, and there are numerous cases of corrections officers and guards hurting inmates, and vice versa. As the current system is set up more as a form of punishment than rehabilitation, correction officers in the United States don't operate in the environment where they are encouraged to live up to the more positive connotations of their title.
Instances like these that lead to disciplinary action are important to note, but they won't set an example until the entire system is dramatically reformed.
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